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Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Congress Update: Outgoing Leaders Discuss Foreign Policy

by Newsteam Staff
November 26, 2012

Sens. Kerry (D-MA) and Lugar (R-IN) depart together after a news conference after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty December 22, 2010. (Jonathan Ernst /Courtesy Reuters). Sens. Lugar (R-IN) and Kerry (D-MA) depart together after a news conference after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty December 22, 2010. (Jonathan Ernst /Courtesy Reuters).


Richard Lugar (R-IN), outgoing ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, writes in The National Interest that there needs to be more cooperation between the president and Congress on foreign policy and national security issues.

Lugar says that President Obama has actively resisted congressional involvement in foreign policy decision-making and says that Obama should make a significant commitment to reducing partisan disagreement when it comes to foreign policy:

I would hope that in the coming weeks, the president would call national-security leaders in Congress to the White House for meaningful talks on the direction of U.S. foreign policy. These meetings should not be mere photo-ops or once-around-the-table affairs. Instead, they should be private, informal, and unhurried to allow for a real exchange of views. They also should be regularized to improve communications and build trust. This is not something that the president can delegate. He should commit himself to the hours necessary for this process to succeed.

Over the course of the next four years, I believe such outreach would yield significant dividends for both parties and could establish a more unified long-term national-security strategy. The American public would benefit from seeing the president and Congressional Republicans work together on foreign policy. And understandings developed in this area might even elevate debate and soften partisan wrangling over domestic issues.

In the Hartford Courant, outgoing  chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Joe Lieberman (I-CT), discusses the nation’s political gridlock and says a spirit of compromise is badly needed to solve problems like the fiscal cliff:

Our federal debt is already more than $16 trillion and growing at a rate of nearly $4 billion a day.

There is no mystery about what must be done to solve our long-term financial problems, only a lack of bipartisan resolve and leadership. It requires entitlement reform, which Republicans want but Democrats have resisted; and tax reform, which Democrats want but Republicans have resisted. We need both, and we can have both if both parties compromise for the good of the country.

In his farewell address to Congress, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) criticized both parties for the nation’s financial situation, and discusses his longstanding disagreement on foreign policy :

Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty. This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge. But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence. Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions. The results are always negative.

The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems. Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world. Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned — or especially when well-intentioned — the results are dismal. The good results sought never materialize. The new problems created require even more government force as a solution. The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.

This is the same fundamental reason our government uses force for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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